Lost and Found

I have recently accumulated a bunch of hospital visitor’s stickers and they are in a neat stack in one of the cupholders in my car.  For some odd reason it reminds me of when I was a Rockette in The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular. For the Toy Soldier number we wore small red fabric circles on our cheeks affixed with Vaseline. This rather ingenious way of  attachment meant we could take them off easily and only have to repair a small portion of our make up for the rest of the show. A few of us would then stick the circles to the mirror above our dressing table.  Because we had new circles for every show by the end of the run our mirrors were almost covered with red dots. Some would make designs like wreaths or Christmas trees.  Mine were in a nice straight line. I haven’t thought about that in years but it occurs to me to do the same thing with my hospital visitor stickers. I could add them to the “I Voted” stickers along the bottom of my bathroom mirror. But I don’t really want to remember these visits

I sit now, wearing my newest visitor sticker, writing this in the family waiting room while my mother has knee replacement surgery. It’s a fairly simple procedure – not even under general anesthesia – but when they took her to the O.R., I cried.  I know she’s going to be fine, but it’s just too soon after my sister’s death to be back in a hospital, defined by a sticker.

For almost my entire life I have carried two burdens.  They were sometimes forgotten, sometimes running my life, but even when I put them down I still knew they were there.  Somewhere. These burdens gave fuel to my anger and a reason to feel sorry for myself. I carried them for so long they became a part of who I was. They were my story.  

Burden #1: My Dad

My Dad is brilliant.  He was a Marine, a Police Officer and then became a Marshall, all while going to night school to study law.  He passed the Bar Exam on his first try. He has just one teeny-weeny problem- he is a major alcoholic. He sobered up for a bit when I was a teenager so at least I knew to go to AA when it was my turn. Then he disappeared. For 28 years I didn’t know where he was, but I figured he was no longer sober.  Every once in a while I would do an on-line search to see if he was dead. For a long time I was confused about why he didn’t want to see me or his grandchildren. Then for a few years I was angry. Then I got sober and forgave him because he was an alcoholic and it wasn’t about me. Then I was angry again because I remembered I was an alcoholic, sober, and would never leave my kids.  The years went by. My emotions went back and forth until a few years ago when something odd happened: I really forgave him. More important, I forgave myself for being like him. Still, it was there. Where was he and why did he deny me?

Burden #2: My Sister

We never got along.  According to family legend my first sentence was, “I don’t know why we gots to have a baby sister anyway.”  We were only fourteen months apart and as different as two people could be. We often thought we hated each other, but actually we loved each other fiercely.  I always felt responsible for her. She was often lost and afraid. She was tiny. She was blonde, really cute and by age four she already spoke like a truck driver.  When I was in kindergarten she was across the campus in preschool and one day she got lost in the cafeteria. Lost…. in the cafeteria. She was so upset they took her to the nurse’s office and called me out of class.  I can still vividly remember walking up the stairs to the office thinking, “What has that kid done now?” I was five.

When my Dad’s alcohol spilled all over my family, I survived by trying to be the best at everything. It served me well, and I did my Malcom Gladwell 10,000 hours of studying dance and was able to make a living as a professional dancer.

My sister went the other direction. Drugs, alcohol, run-ins with the police, run-outs from home. She was smart, beautiful, talented, and a much better dancer than I was, but she didn’t spend 10,000 hours in ballet or practicing in her room.  She spent it with dangerous people doing dangerous things. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t morally superior so much as I was afraid. Afraid of being out of control or being hurt. Afraid that I would disappoint my mom or my teachers. My role was to be good and (sorry to quote Mrs. Trump), “BE BEST.”

In our twenties my sister and I both married and had children around the same time.  She was her happiest during those years. She loved being a mom and she loved babies. Then there were a lot of years that were not so good.  Fast forward to five years ago when she began to show physical sings of severe liver damage. I offered to take her to AA and she said she didn’t need it. I offered to pay for rehab to which she politely thanked me and refused.  I think she tried to quit on her own a few times but mostly she just lied about her drinking. Eventually I stopped going to family gatherings because It was too painful for me to see her sneak off to drink and pretend she wasn’t committing suicide in front of our eyes.  The last few years we hadn’t seen each other very often. She sent me some texts on my birthday but I eventually became irritated and quit responding because I could tell she was drunk.

Three months ago I was checking the obituaries again to see if my Dad was among them and I found a phone number for his wife.  Without even thinking about it I dialed the number. She answered! Shit!

Me: Is this Barbara Spicer

Barbara: Yes…

Me: Are you married to Doug Spicer?  Is he alive?

Barbara: (now a bit suspicious) Yes, who is this?

Me: This is DeAnne Spicer.

Barbara: Hold on a minute.  Doug, take the phone, it’s DeAnne Spicer.

Me: No! Fuck, fuck, fuck.

Dad: Hello.

Me: (beginning to cry) Are you my Dad?

Dad: Yes.

Me: Are you sober?

That’s the first thing I asked. The conversation was going to end if the answer was no. I was about to ask him if he voted for Trump but I decided it could wait.  And I started sobbing. “I don’t care what you’ve done! I don’t care where you’ve been! I forgive you and I love you!”

When I told this story to my friend Wendy, she said, “Way to go, Poker Face.”

I asked if I could come see him.  And four days later I was sitting in his home. He has had a very difficult time with alcohol, but has been sober fifteen years.  I think he’s done it by never leaving his house. He looks the same and sounds the same, only older. He was never abusive to me in any way, or I would not have gone.  I should say he was not intentionally abusive, but It does affect your developing psyche somewhat when as a twelve-year-old you can yell at your six-feet-tall, two -hundred-twenty-pound dad and tell him to “Turn off the stove before you burn the house down.“  Or, “Put the baby down and go to bed. You’re drunk.” He always did what I said, and that might explain why I am so bossy now. Still, I have memories of being young, before the alcohol took him over, and he was actually a good Dad. That’s the one I care to remember and that’s the Dad I went to visit.  FYI, he did not vote for Trump, thank God, and is still a card-carrying Democrat.

After our visit, I felt like a piece of me that had been missing was back in place.  I felt acknowledged by my father, and it made me feel whole. I know I would have been fine if it had never happened, but I am so grateful it did.  It’s like I was playing the CandyLand game of life and I pulled the ice cream bar which meant I could skip a whole bunch of steps toward healing. I was found.

The last time I spoke to my sister was to tell her I had found our dad.  I texted her afterward and told her to call me, but she never did. Then on December 10 I received the call I have been waiting for, I do not exaggerate, for forty-two years. My sister was in the hospital on a respirator.  She died three days later of multiple organ failure caused by Alcoholic Liver Damage. She was lost.

I knew this would happen, yet I am still having a hard time believing she died.  You expect your parents to die. You fear your children will die. How do you wrap your brain around losing a sibling?  When I got home yesterday a box with her ashes was on my kitchen counter. They mailed my sister to me in a box and she was on my counter.  What the fuck?

Those two burdens that I let define me – I was abandoned by my father and I have to save my sister – are gone.  Gone. So, now what? Who am I now, and what will fill all this new emotional space? I haven’t a clue.

For today, I will wait until my Mom is out of surgery, get her settled, and hang out with her a bit.  I like to talk to her when she has had medication because she says really stupid and funny things. Then tomorrow I’ll come back to take her home and get another visitor’s sticker. And then I’ll find all the other hospital stickers in my car and put them in my purse because I’m not saving them to stick them to anything.  Instead, this time when I leave the hospital I will throw them all in the trash.


Facelifts and Feminism

I had a facelift three months ago. Actually, I had a Mini Face Lift, Neck Lift and Upper Eye Blasmaphasomething.  I always said I would never have surgery.  I, DeAnne Spicer Todd, Feminist and Goddess here on Earth, was going to age gracefully and wasn’t going to buy in to the Patriarchy’s idea of youth and beauty.

I pictured myself as an old woman with long gray hair in a flowing caftan, proud of every wrinkle and sagging jowl, still a doula catching babies from the women laboring outdoors in my perfect garden that I planted and tended.  I would practically float from vagina to vagina as the babies popped into my hands.  Each new mother would say, “I want to be just like you when I am older.” I would pluck a perfect ripe tomato from a nearby plant hand it to her and say, “Eat, eat of the fruit from the The Garden of the Crone.“  Then she would say, “We are naming the baby DeAnne.”

Cut to present day.  I stopped being a doula because I hated being on call and babies take for fucking ever to be born.  I quit planting a garden because it was too much work and I hate to cook anyway.  I have had gray hair since my twenties, been dying it red ever since and find no compelling reason to stop now.  I do have some beautiful flowing caftans but I find they are better suited as cover ups  for when I sit by the pool.

Let’s face facts: those of you that know me know that I’m vain.  Not in an obnoxious way but in a lazy kind of charming way.  My face was falling off my cheek bones, and every time I looked at myself I would pull my skin back and say, “There you are.”  Don’t get me wrong — I knew I was still pretty.  I’m not an idiot.  I have a mirror.  I didn’t want to look different, I just wanted things put back where they were.

I had not been thinking about surgery, because I was afraid to look weird.  I really didn’t want my face to look like I was someone caught in a wind storm after being told Donald Trump was President. Or, like, always surprised.  Then, last December I saw a friend of mine who’d had her eyes done, and she looked amazing.  You couldn’t tell she’d had anything done until she showed me the “before” picture.  She said her eye guy’s brother was a face guy and I should check him out. Okay…

Now, I know you’re supposed to interview at least three doctors, but that is not how I shop. I just went where my friend went.  If you’re looking for a car and the first one you see is what you want, just drive it off the lot. I mean, pay first. Or have someone pay.  I’m not totally sure how it works.  I went to see the doctors on December 18 for a consultation. Dr. Christopher Zoumalan does only eyes.  He is so warm, and charming.  Because he had to look me straight in the eyes to assess me, all the while smiling and chatting, I was pretty sure he was falling madly in love with me.  His brother, Dr. Richard Zoumalan, only does facelifts and rhinoplasty.  He is also a portrait artist and looks at you as if you are a canvas where he can create the most beautiful face you have ever seen. I loved these guys. I scheduled my procedures for January 18. I guess I had decided to have plastic surgery.  Why overthink things?

I had a lot of soul searching to do in those four weeks, and since most of it was taken up with Christmas and a vacation to Florida, I really couldn’t think about it much. No, that’s a lie. I thought about it constantly.  I wasn’t afraid of the surgery. In fact, I was looking forward to the drugs. I was mourning the loss of being confident enough to age naturally.  I was judging myself, and I didn’t particularly like that I wanted to do it.  But I was also really excited that I could fix an issue that really bothered me. The latter thought won.

I consider myself a Feminist; I have often been an Activist.  How do I reconcile those things with having facial surgery?  It seems as women that you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t: people judge you for aging, and people judge you if you have surgery. I finally decided to do it when I realized the surgery would change how I looked on the outside but not who I was on the inside.  I was still a libtard, a snowflake, and I would still be fighting the good fight — just with a tighter jawline.  Besides,  a lot of the sun damage to my face was done when I went door-to-door stumping for Obama.  Thanks a lot, Democratic Party.

On January 17, I checked into a “surgery recovery center” that catered to my every need and offered a discreet back door entrance in case I was a movie star or something.  In the early morning of January 18, under the cloak of pre-dawn darkness, I was driven to the surgery center. I was early, and I had to sit on the floor outside the door, waiting, where I took this last picture of my old face. IMG_7356

After they arrived, I was taken into a room and given a stylish gown, paper hat, and booties.  At this point I had told practically no one I was doing this.  Then I saw myself in the full length mirror in the room and started doing ballet (as one does).   I noticed how great my pointed feet looked even in those awful booties.  This I had to share.  So I snapped a few pictures, chose the best one and posted it on Facebook with the caption, “Off to my facelift.”  Some friends replied, “Why?”  Dancer friends replied, “Nice feet.”

IMG_7359If I was having any second thoughts or nervousness at this time it was completely gone when I walked into the operating room.  Pictures of my face from every angle were covering the walls.  I took one look at them, jumped on the table and said, “Let’s do this thing.”

Seven hours later I woke up looking as if I had been hit by a bus and my face was wrapped like I was playing a nun in The Sound of Music.  It wasn’t painful at all until the drugs wore off, but luckily they give you Percocet. The Percocet helped but it mostly made me sleepy and really wasn’t doing much for the pain.  At one point I said to the nurse, “You don’t understand. I am an alcoholic.  What ever dosage they said to give me, double it!”  Still, it’s remarkable how little pain there actually is, considering they cut my face off and sewed it back on.

Here’s the thing.  If you are having surgery because you hate yourself and think that will change — it won’t.  If you are having surgery because you are depressed, and think looking younger will make you happy — it won’t.  But, if you are having surgery to get rid of your jowls, turkey neck, and droopy eyelids —do it!  Or not.  Jowls and droopy eyelids are fine too.  Which brings me to how I reconciled Feminism with a Facelift.  It’s a choice.  A personal choice about my body.  Isn’t that the number one tenet of Feminism? Choice?

I was still in the “recovery center” on the Saturday that the March for Gun Reform was happening.  The irony of me lying propped up in a bed in Beverly Hills being brought drugs and applesauce watching it on television instead of marching was not lost on me.  After watching for five minutes or so, I think I yelled, “Go Kids!” at  the TV, and then the drugs kicked in and I passed out.

So, have surgery, don’t have surgery, you decide what is right for you.  As women we must support each other in freedom of choice.  We are living in a time that appears to be the last dying gasp of the white man in power.  One of the ways they have remained in power is to pit women against each other.  Divide and conquer!  We can’t let that happen anymore.  We must be ready to lead!  See?  I’m still in here.


A week or so after surgery.


The finished product.

Just kidding.  That’s my headshot from 1985




The real finished product.


In action celebrating April birthdays. My 57th.


Talking about Gun Laws Anyway

I know we can’t talk about safer gun laws because we just had a massive slaughter in Las Vegas but the time between shootings is shorter and shorter so I am going to go ahead and talk about it now.  I realized today I follow a now all too familiar pattern after these events.

Day i

  1. Do I know anyone that could be involved in the shooting?
  2. Contact said person if applicable.
  3. Post how grateful I am they are okay when they check in safe on Facebook.
  4. Hope the shooter was white so we don’t kill or ban any brown people.
  5. Feel relieved because usually the shooter is white .
  6. Get angry when politicians post their ” thoughts and fucking prayers.”

Day 2

Fall into a deep depression imagining how I would feel if it were one of my children or husband who had been killed.

And here we are again on day three.  Day three I cry off and on all day because I realize that I cannot keep my children safe in this world.  I know I can’t protect them from everything but I should not have to worry about them getting murdered at a concert, or a movie, or at church, or playing baseball, or at fucking kindergarten.  The blame for my helplessness I lay solely at the feet of the NRA and the gun toting assholes who believe their right to an automatic weapon is more important than our children’s lives.  Mostly I blame our congress whose desire to be retain their jobs overcomes all manner of decency and caring. The victim’s blood is on their hands and I hope being re -elected is worth it to them.

I am not anti-gun.  I grew up with responsible gun owners.  My Dad was a cop and kept his in a locked box when he came home because he had two little girls.  My Uncle was an ex- Marine who loved, respected, shot guns, and tried to no avail to teach me the same.  My Grandfather was a cowboy who kept his rifle over the door of his bedroom where it hung until the day he died. (Then my Uncle took it.) Do people really need more than that to defend themselves?  Do people really think a back ground check and banning assault rifles is going to put them in mortal danger?  What are they so afraid of?

Day four is tomorrow and that is the day I will donate to one of the organizations who inevitably e-mail me for money to push for stricter gun laws.

Then I get a few days, maybe a week, if I am lucky a few months before the cycle begins again.

Day 1

  1. Do I know anyone that could be involved in the shooting?

See above, repeat.





Letter to Donald Trump and David Duke

Dear Donald Trump, David Duke and others of that ilk,

(Ilk means people in the same group as you. From now on I will try not to use any words I learned after sixth grade.)

I am a white woman of privilege and I recently had my DNA tested by Ansestrydotcom.  The results show I have more British DNA than the average person living in Great Britain today.  The other 25% is Scottish, and Northern European.  I was hoping for something more exotic but no- just white, white and more white.  My family goes back on both sides to the founding of America. One Great- Something- Grandfather fought in the Revolutionary War and another Great- Something- Grandfather chose indentured servitude in America over prison in Scotland.   (That is the fun side of the family.) I have relatives that fought in both the Union and Confederate Armies. (Extra credit for that one, right?) My Grandfather was an honest –to- goodness cowboy in Wyoming. My Father, two Uncles, and my nephew all served in The United States Marine Corps. Semper Fi! In addition to being a Marine my father was an attorney who successfully defended a member of the Hell’s Angels in a murder trial. He even voted for Richard Nixon- which may have contributed to my parent’s divorce a few years later. In other words, I am about as white as you can get and assuredly I am whiter than you.  So……. By your standards I win! I win! I win! Fuck you! I win!


Now that we have established that I am in fact “Superior” (your word not mine) to you, let me explain why you won’t be taking my country back.


In your all white world I would not have had the career I did as a dancer.  My first ballet teacher was Puerto Rican and as a professional dancer I trained with a Gay African American. I’m not saying there are not straight white male dance teachers and choreographers- just not enough.


My favorite book was written by a Russian and my favorite artist is African American.  I’m not saying there aren’t any straight white male writers and artists- just not enough.


Currently my favorite musical is Book of Mormon with a cast full of gay men and African American’s.  You would just hate it! I’m not saying there are no straight white men in the theater- just not enough.


If you get rid of Gays and Jews in Hollywood movies and television will have a really hard time getting made.  I’m not saying there are no straight white men in Hollywood- just not enough.


What kind of music do you listen to in White America? Okay, actually here you got me.  There are enough straight white musicians and I know because I dated a lot of them. (Groupie is a strong word.)


If you take away all the Black people, Hispanic people, Asians, Muslims, Jews and Gay people I will not have any friends left. Pretty sure your coming for Intellectuals and Artists too so that would reduce my friend count to a handful of old dancers. (However, do not underestimate us old dancers.  We are smarter than you think and we kick really hard.) I’m not saying I don’t have any straight white friends- just not enough.


Most importantly, I would not have my daughter.  I brought her to this country and when our plane touched down on the tarmac at LAX she immediately became an American citizen.  It was one of the proudest moments of my life.  I will not allow you to take that from us.


I believe Donald, your presidency is the last dying gasp of the straight white man trying to maintain power. Why are you so afraid of women and brown people taking your stuff?  Here’s a secret for you.  We don’t want your stuff. We don’t even like your stuff. Keep your stuff but you can’t have our country back. It is no longer only yours.


I don’t want to live in a country where Kid Rock is the Poet Laureate. *  I don’t want exclusively white neighbors whose only work of art they own is on their arm and although they are both fine actors, I don’t want to see movies that only star James Woods and Gary Sinese.  I don’t want America First.  I want us to be a part of the Global Community.


Lastly, and please read this part very carefully, your violence, your exclusion, your racism, your misogyny, and your hate will not be tolerated. This does not make me an “intolerant Libtard”.  It makes me a compassionate human.  So please, take your lily white, fat, tiki torch carrying, cowardly asses back to whatever pit of hell has only white people in it and men are in charge.  And, by the way, if any of you believe that after you die God will be waiting in heaven to give you a high five you are sadly mistaken.  She will be standing there with her arms crossed pointing to the exit.



DeAnne Spicer Todd


*Poet Laureate is an official poet** chosen by the government.

** A poet is…. Oh never mind.














I am selling Lipstick.  I never in a million years thought I would be a part of a multi-level marketing program, but here I am.  What’s more, I am loving it.  It’s called LipSense and it stays on all day until you take it off.  I bought some, used it, and decided to sell it.  I am actually making pretty good money after only three weeks.  Who knew? Lipstick?  I really wanted to do it but decided it wasn’t for me because it wasn’t ‘important” enough.  Every job I have ever done, paid or volunteered,  had to be something that contributes to society.  (Except for dancer.  Dancers don’t save the world but they do make it better.) Selling lipstick is not changing the world. It is not as important as helping incarcerated women have babies, working on a political campaign, or running a big fundraiser at school.  It’s make up, for God’s sake and I don’t even wear it that often.  Still, I wanted to do it and when I told people about it I would roll my eyes and say, “Can you believe it?”  Then, the more I learned, I saw that selling lipstick actually is extremely important for some people.  This business is changing women’s lives.  They are creating careers, able to stay home with their children if they want, take their families on vacation, get a new car!  I am fortunate enough to have those things already but I remember a time when I did not. I really wish I had something like this when I was a single mom.  It also occurred to me that doing something I deemed as important did not make ME important………… huh. So, instead of being the smug dilettante I normally am I decided I, in fact, really, really wanted to sell lipstick.  It’s mostly done on Social Media and I do most of my business off my Facebook Group, Pure Love Lasting Lipstick if your interested.


How important was this job…..really.  By the way, Sleeping Beauty sells lipstick too.

Now I have an excuse to be on Facebook  AND….. here is the best part! I love making Live Videos!   Turns out I do miss being in front of the camera a bit and I am enjoying it so much!  I forgot how cute and adorable I was.  The idea now is to get people in a downline to sell it too.  I have no trouble talking to people about joining because I really feel it’s a great opportunity.   My goal, and it is totally doable, is to make enough money to give Don more options.  That is quite a bit of money but women are doing it.

Amazingly, since I am in my office working I have also begun to do what I most want to do- write.  I’m at my desk and I feel good about myself so I feel like as long as I’m here  I might as well write.  It’s a win-win.  Unless you don’t like my writing or lipstick then I can’t help you.  In a nutshell. I am loving doing something I never saw coming and it is allowing me to do what I really love. Sounds like selling lipstick may be pretty important after all.

Adorn Yourself

“Know, first, who you are and then adorn yourself accordingly.”



Epictetus was a Greek stoic philosopher.  I have no idea what that means, and don’t tell me because I don’t care, but I think it means we have no control over anything but ourselves.  I love this quote, but truth be told I didn’t discover it while studying philosophy.  I heard it on The Leftovers.  

It has really stuck with me, because however Epictetus meant it, I take it to mean “decide what you want to be, believe it, and then do it.”  In my case my identity/career has changed a few times, and there was a built-in uniform in which to “adorn” myself:

Dancer – tights, leotard (it was the 7’0s) costumes;

Childbirth Educator/ Doula – not so much a uniform as an air of confidence, because I knew what I was doing and I was good at it;

Parent – who the fuck knows?  Changes daily.  My husband says children are like viruses – constantly mutating.  Mainly I wear sweat pants and pajamas.

I‘ve been saying for years that I’d like to write.  I have two blogs I neglect, a book series idea, and five ideas for plays.  But I don’t write because I am not a writer.  I actually had a paid job writing a monthly column for a magazine (thank you, Karen Apostolina) and I still don’t consider myself a writer.

To become a dancer and a doula I studied for years.  By the time I was good at either one, I had earned the right to call myself a Dancer, and a Doula.  I knew I was good at it because people hired me and told me so.  I received feedback.  Sometimes it was not so nice, like “lose weight” (said to me by an obese producer while stuffing a donut in his mouth – really).  But, mostly it was good feedback and it confirmed that I was the occupation I proclaimed to be.  I had adorned myself.  

Writing is different.  It’s solo work, and requires self-discipline.  That is not my strong suit.  I only have self-discipline when I really believe in something.  Otherwise I nap.  I’m learning to write as I go, and while it’s a great help to live with a really good writer, it is also intimidating.  Writing is his job, not mine.  He didn’t marry a writer – he thought he married a dancer.  Joke’s on him.

I made an announcement to my friends at my birthday dinner that I wanted to be thought of as a writer.  Now, when someone asks, “What do you do?” instead of my usual answer (“Nothing, I just stay home with the kids.  I am a loser and not worth your time so please go find someone more interesting to talk to.”) I’m going to say, “I am a writer.”  When they ask, “What do you write?” I’m going to say, “I have two blogs.  One is a vain personal chronicle of what I think, and the other is fiction about ghosts in New Orleans.”  I won’t get into the fact that I really think the ghosts talk to me, so it’s not technically fiction; TMI.  I’ll also say, “I’m working on a novel.  It has an ex-Marine in it.  SHE is kick ass smart.  It also has a German Shepherd Dog in it because I like German Shepherd Dogs.”  By this point, people will really go find someone more interesting to talk to.

It’s working.  I said it out loud, so now I have to write something down so I’m not a liar.  I am adorning myself, mentally, as a Writer.  As far as physically adorning myself, I’m changing out of pajamas and putting on something cute.  My idea of Writer adornment is not sweatpants.  Unless they’re clean.  My writer husband just walked through in sweatpants.  Okay, maybe I can still wear sweatpants.

The day after my major pronouncement at my birthday dinner, I was donating money over the phone to one of the many Democrats running for office. When the caller asked my occupation, without a beat I said, “Writer.”  She believed me.  I’m even starting to believe it myself.


Blah Blah Blah DeAnne

I have been sick for ten days.  I have had an ear infection, mild flu, and general I- can’t- do -anything- but- no -stress- because -I -am- moving- on -the -twentieth -who -needs- to- pack- anyway malaise.  I can occasionally crawl out of bed and throw some of my junk into a box but even with an inordinate amount of sleep and two trips to the doctor I am not getting better.  So I decided to go all Louise Hay and get metaphysical and it occurred to me that I can’t “hear” because my ear canals are clogged so  I asked myself, “What do I not want to listen to?”  I have come up with some great stuff the last couple of days but none of it really seemed to land.  For example, yesterday I was convinced I haven’t been listening to the call for me to learn sign language and be an interpreter for deaf theater goers.  While I admit my experience in the theater coupled with my flair for the dramatic might make that a good job for me I decided that probably wasn’t it.  This morning before I was really awake I asked myself again, “What am I not listening to?  The real answer finally came- Everything.  Every. F@#%ing. Thing.  I have been the equivalent of a child with her fingers in her ears yelling, “LA LA LA LA I can’t hear you!” After I realized this I could sense my Grammy Lu from beyond the grave throw her hands up in the air and yell, “Praise Goddess! She got it!”

After the election I came out swinging. Picture if you will, Donald Trump with his arm stretched out and his hand on my forehead while I punch and kick and scream but nothing connects.  That was me. I started a website and and I was going to have everyone post a selfie and say #Irise during the inauguration and I was going to stop Donald Trump and , I, I, all me, all I.  Then the downward spiral. The recognition of the futility of that attempt right now.

During the election I had a dream that Donald Trump raped me.  When I woke up I realized he would never rape me because I was too old and ugly for him. This is horrible on so many levels.  Why am I dreaming that I am not even good enough for the President Elect to rape?  What has this man done to our national psyche already?

I did not watch Obama’s farewell speech because I knew it would make me cry and I thought it would make my ear infection worse.  Today I decided I needed to hear it.  I just watched it and it did make me cry. Big ugly sobbing and crying. This man, who I worked so hard to get elected, who I believed could change the world, who stands for the goodness in mankind is being replaced with a man so reprehensible he haunts my dreams.  I am crying.  I am grieving.  I am scared. I do not want the Obama’s to leave. I do not want to listen to what is going on now.  I want to stay in my bed and pretend  we are not moving on as a country and that I am not moving out of my house in five days.  But here is the strange part- this is not who I usually am.  DeAnne Spicer Todd is not afraid of change.  Much to my husband’s dismay I welcome it.  Every time our family life gets stable I add something or someone else for us to take care of and shift our family upside down to make room for more.  That’s how we continue to grow and thrive. That is how I roll.

I am watching and writing and crying and while I am doing this I am blowing my nose and every time I do my ears are opening up a little bit. The crying is not making it worse it is making it better. I do not need to do anything about Donald Trump right now. I need to stop and listen- then act.  I hear what people are saying but I am really only listening to the words so I can make a joke or butt in with an opinion or argument as to why I am right and they are  wrong. In a conversation I am always listening like a lawyer trying a case before a jury.  I know what you are going to say and I have my answer before you even say it.  That, is exhausting.  No wonder I am sick.  So yes Grammy Lu , I finally heard you. I am not listening.  I offer a big apology to my husband, children, and friends.  I am sorry.

Next Friday when the Obamas’ move out of their house we will also be moving out of our house.  I told you I have a flair for the dramatic.  I have to believe that change is good.  I have to hope for the best. (Yes, the hopey changey stuff still works for me.)  During the move and inauguration I will post selfies of myself to social media with #Irise and what I rise for. No, it won’t change anything but it’s a start.

When the dust settles I will continue to  listen before deciding what to do next. More importantly I will try  to hear what people are actually saying.  I will even try to care about what they are saying but I am not making any promises. I can’t change all at once.  But I can promise I will face the world with open ears and do my part with all the millions of Americans who care to rise for what is right.  Can we do it?  I believe!  We have come too far the last eight years.  You can’t put Baby back in the corner!  We are going to move forward with courage. If, in our quest, we question and ask if we can still do this without President Obama in office let us remember and answer ourselves in his very own words. Yes we can. Yes we can. Yes we can.


Please excuse the spelling and grammatical errors. My editor is packing.


One Hundred-sixty-six Reasons to Love Myself

Just for a minute I have to discuss everyone’s favorite topic- my weight. I really thought I was finished with the yo-yoing, but I have yo-yoed again and in the wrong direction. The total inattention to my health, lack of exercise, and eating everything in sight has surprisingly led to weight gain.  When am I going to finally figure this out?  It’s just math and I was good at math.

I haven’t been “thin” since I was in my early 40’s and I thought I was fat then because I wasn’t as thin as I was in my 30’s – when I felt fat because I wasn’t as thin as I was when I was a borderline anorexic dancer.  That’s when I really felt fat because after I hit 100 pounds I thought I would be too heavy to dance with Baryshnikov.

Hmmm…. I am seeing a pattern here. My sixty-year-old self is screaming at me to stop it now.

I have lost weight on a restricted diet.  I have lost weight by exercising excessively. I have lost weight by giving up sugar and everything white.  None of those things have lasted.  In fact, before I gave up sugar I didn’t even really like sugar and now I can’t get enough sugar.  What?

The only thing any of those plans had in common was I did it because I hated the way I looked and therefore myself.  Nothing born out of hate can live very long. (Did you hear that Donald Trump?)   Why would I take care of myself if I didn’t think I was worth it?  I hear you sixty-year-old DeAnne- enough.

I am going to feed myself, nurture and care for myself like I was one of my own children.  Wait, I’ll have to do better than that because sometimes I forget to pick them up from school. No giving up of anything, everything in moderation including exercise.  But here is where my new plan becomes different and difficult- I have to find a way to feel good about myself that has nothing to do with how I look.  Yikes! I want to write and I feel good about myself when I do that so I am going to do that a lot more.  Being a writer and sitting all day is the perfect way to lose weight!

Anyone want to join me?  Go to the Not So Empty Nest Facebook Page and post what you weigh- be loud and proud!  I’ll start. I weigh 166. Let’s stop being embarrassed and own it! If you, like me, would like to weigh a little less let’s try to lose it by taking care of ourselves and each other first.  I think we need to work on feeling fabulous now and the rest will sort itself out.   Let’s give it a try.  It couldn’t hurt and it just might work.


My Brain, Bernie Sanders, and Dazz

I need to write everything down even if I think I will remember it because I won’t remember it.  What happened to my brain?  As a child I could tell you what I wore, ate, and did, “one year ago today”.  Now I can’t remember why I left the room.  Can I get those brain cells back?  I do all the Crossword Puzzles, Jumbles (don’t judge), and Sudokus I can and I still can’t find my keys.


And speaking of old- let’s talk about Bernie Sanders.  Just kidding.  I like the guy.  I also admire the young adults who are excited and rallying behind him.  I like some of those ideas too but we have to be practical and look at the big picture.  He is so far left he can’t win a general election.  He would scare the Republicans even more than the black guy did.   I’m pretty sure  now that I have stated my opinion it will change the course of American politics.  You are welcome Hillary.


Now back to my wandering brain and the real reason for this post.  My good friend Dazz Robertson is starting a blog this week about her so called “ghostly experiences” in New Orleans.  She might be a whack job but she is so smart and beautiful we should give it a try.  I’ll keep you posted.


It’s so easy for me to get lost.  Not out in the world; I have a keen sense of direction and no matter where I am in the world I can always point to home.  I get lost in the day-to-day.  I get lost in the house and the kids and my husband and the dogs and the cats and the lizard and the shopping and the cleaning and the driving and the fixing and the trying to slow down the planet so my family doesn’t fly off.  It’s easy to forget what I want, since so much of what I want is for the rest of these bozos I love so dearly to be happy.  They are not.  So, I am lost.


I love to travel by myself because when I’m home there is never a part of me that is not connected to at least one person completely.  My heart is soaring for someone else’s achievements or breaking over someone’s perceived failures. I don’t really want to change that.  The truth is that what holds me onto this spinning planet is them.  I am who I am because I am so deeply entrenched in their lives.  I tremble with anger because they have kept me from a career, from saving the world, from writing a book, from writing a play, from being a working EMT, from having a Search and Rescue Dog, from being a star.  And they have.  But, it is my choice to let them.  I could do all those things — they aren’t stopping me.  I am choosing not to do them.  Why can’t being home be enough?


I grew up in the Seventies and I was told I didn’t have to stay home with children.  I didn’t need a man.  In fact, if I wanted any of that I was weak and a loser.  I could do it all.  So here I am, home with the children, trying to pretend I don’t need a man, and I am lost.  I am lost in the place I most want to be found.


I can’t wrap this up neatly because I don’t have the answer.  It’s too big and it’s too confusing and it’s too deep and I love too much and I’m too afraid.  I don’t know how to do it any differently right now because there are people depending on me to help them to find their way and I have to do that first.  I don’t understand it at all — but for now, I am okay to feel lost.